Should a small business be addressing these social media outlets? In a word: YES.
93% of Americans believe that a company should have a presence on social media sites and 85 percent believe that these companies should use these services to interact with consumers. This is according to a study done by Cone (http://www.coneinc.com/content1182 back in 2008.
Its three years later and the basic findings in the study are mostly still relevant.
Here are some of the other statistics the study called out:
- 60% of Americans regularly interact with companies on a social media site
- 43% of consumers say that companies should use social networks to solve the consumers' problems
- 41% believe that companies should use social media tools to solicit feedback on products and services
- Men are more likely to use social media tools to interact with a company than women (33% vs. 17%)
- 33% of younger consumers (18-34) and those with household incomes over $75,000 believe that companies should try to market to them through social networks
My thoughts on the subject:
The study claimed this was great news for marketers. I don't actually get that part. Most marketers back in 2008 had as much clue how to integrate social media into a marketing plan as the business owner did. It's three years later and there are a bunch of fast learners leading the pact with advice. They experts will tell you how to tweet successfully, what day of the week to blog, how often to post and how many characters a post should be for the best results. The thing is, in my experience, every business is different. Business to Business social media usage is very different than communicating directly with customers through a company Facebook page. A restaurant is going to have a very different experience online than a mattress store. Is this great for marketing companies? Not so much. It means reinventing the wheel for each customer.
The good news is; there are some things that hold true across the board;
- Don't over post, no one wants to see 5 posts a day from you about how healthy water is for you.
- Conversation not Advertisement, this is not the place to sell product, its an opportunity for a company to gain feedback on what the customer thinks
- More is not better, if you don't have anything to say fluffing it up, won't make it better.
- Respond in a timely manner, don't ignore questions or complaints -these are the reason you are there.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Am I off base? Set me straight. Am I on the right track? Tell me. Want more? Its coming, till then.